(Photo at top: July 25, 2002. Left to right: George Williams, Jack White, Mike Rogers (me) and Meg White)

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“Your regrets aren’t what you did but what you didn’t do. That’s why you have to take every opportunity.” – Cameron Diaz

 “Glory is fleeting, but obscurity is forever.” – Napoleon Bonaparte


Many years ago, in my wild eyed and bushy tailed youth (was it the late eighties, or the early nineties?) I was the director and co-host of a late-night smash hit radio show in Japan called, “Channel G” on InterFM.

Channel G was a radical radio show that was modeled after the radio shows I loved as a teen. There were three shows that I can really remember that I actually would rush home to listen to (people do that to watch their favorite TV show, but for a radio show?) The three I loved were: Rodney on the Roq on KROQ in Los Angeles (he’s still on today!) The Frazier Smith show, and the The Young Marquis and Stanley also on KROQ. (Click those links to listen to Frazier and Young Marquis!)

Newspaper article about The Young Marquis and Stanley

Newspaper article about The Young Marquis and Stanley

You can hear snippets of the Young Marquis and Stanley at the link above. Here’s a youtube for Frazier Smith. Hint: You can’t believe anything this guy says. Hilarious stuff!

Anyway… I digress….

This is about a radical radio show I made in Japan called Channel G that was modeled after my favorites when I was a teen and early 20-year-old and it’s about the White Stripes (namely Jack White).

Channel G played radical new music and alternative underground sounds. As with my show today, What the Funday, I believe it is my duty to introduce brand new music and brand new artists to the unsuspecting world way before anyone else does.

To that end, we used to play a new artists that no one had ever heard of at the time. Some of those artists we played became really famous; most just faded to oblivion. One of those artists we did play that became huge, was a guy and girl duo called, “The White Stripes.” We played them constantly.

One day, by some stroke of fate, before they were even remotely famous, the “White Stripes” came to the studio and were guests on the show. They were so thankful that we were playing them and that we allowed them as guests on the show. We were happy to have them!

The White Stripes were Jack and Meg White. Some people said they were married. I thought they were brother and sister. Never was able to clear that up (not that it matters.)

Anyhow, after the radio show interview, I got the chance to talk to Jack.

While chit chatting about the rich and famous Hollywood starlets that we both hobnobbed with regularity, the conversation came to a punk band that I was the lead vocal for in the late 1970s. Jack asked me the name of the band and when I told him, his eyes grew wide and he blurted out, “I bought your record when I was 13-years-old! I love that song! I still have that record!”

I was pleased as punch. Thank god for punk rock! I’ve had several people in my life tell me that sort of thing.

He asked me why we quit playing. I told him about the band and how we were “one-hit wonders” and popular for about six months; we shot up like a rocket to quick fame in early ’79. But, as they say, what goes up must come down; we crashed to oblivion just as fast.

I told Jack of my regrets.

Let me digress again, and relate to you the story of how my band crashed and burned. I told Jack:

“Sometime in the late 1970s, several months before the Sex Pistols came to America, the Nuns – or was the the Avengers? I can’t remember… (anyway the band that opened for the Sex Pistols in San Francisco) contacted us and wanted us to open for them in a big San Francisco show. Of course the guitarist and I wanted to do it… but those two idiots (Er, I mean, the bass player and drummer) said, “Oh, we can’t play that day because we promised our friends we’d go surfing with them.”

Seriously. They said that! Morons! That was effectively the end of our band; I will never forgive those two dimwits for that.

But, I’m the biggest idiot in this scene, though. If I knew then what I know today, I would have kicked their lame asses out of the band right then and there on the spot. Then Phester (the guitarist) and I would have went to S.F. and played by ourselves. I would have stuck a bass guitar in a trash can and we’d have grabbed any drummer.

But we didn’t kick them out and we didn’t go to S.F.

Big mistake. I will always regret that.”

Like it says at the top of this article:

“Your regrets aren’t what you did but what you didn’t do. That’s why you have to take every opportunity.”

Jack White listened to my story intently. Then he said something to me that I will never forget. He said,

“Mike! It’s better to have punked and lost, then to have never punked at all.”

Is that cool, or what? Thanks Jack White! What you told me made everything that had happened finally alright.

Friends! Live without regrets!!!!!

 

 

 

 

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6 Comments

  1. Mike – great story as usual!
    I told you a couple of years ago that I also loved that song of yours.
    I was actually waiting for you to say you kicked the drummer and bass player out and got replacements. That’s what I would have done – and I’m not even a real punk!
    I can’t believe you stuck with the band mates who would rather go surfing than play a gig in San Fran!
    It wasn’t surfin’ on heroin, was it?
    Still… Jack White has it correct.
    It’s better to have punked than to have never punked at all.
    And… dammit!!! I was waiting on you to clear up the whole brother-sister or married thing!!!! They could be cousins, of course, or an amazing coincidence of unrelated surname. Or maybe they changed their names – like Iggy Stooge. I assume his dad wasn’t Moe.
    Keep on rockin’!
    I enjoy the weekly What The Funday shows!

  2. Ha, haven’t heard anyone mention the YOUNG MARQUIS in ages. Almost no one I know remembers.

    So you must have been in the Rotters. Was Bob Lee the drummer when you were in the band?

    Bruce Duff
    Knitting Factory Management/Entertainment
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    5303 Lankershim Blvd.
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  3. mike

    Wow! Bruce Duff,

    You and I must be kindred spirits. Those were wonderful days. Punk rock saved my life!

    I know who Bob Lee is but I don’t think I have ever met him. Phester Swollen (Guitarist) reformed the band a few years after I moved to Japan. Then Bob and the gang (Phester was the only original member) made the new version of the band (with my strong blessings!) And they released the CD with the 4 color jacket (title I forget).

    Over the years, they’ve had many parties and many reunion shows. I always get invited but never attend.

    I was young and handsome and those were good days. I want people to remember me as young and handsome. I think we need to graciously surrender the treasures of youth. No one wants to see a fat old punk singing 35 year old songs.

    They are a great memory for me. I want to keep them that way.

    Mike

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